Temperatures are rising all over the country. At what point does riding in the heat and humidity go from merely miserable to dangerous for horse, rider or both? Do you have a set temperature above which you won’t ride?
It seems like everyone has a different system for determining whether it’s too hot to ride.
You may have seen this fascinating article from the University of Guelph circulating around the Internet last month: “When the Rider is Hot, the Horse is Hotter: Prof says horses feel summer heat 10 times faster than people.”
In it Prof. Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains, “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to 10 times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”
The reason, he says, has to do with horses’ increased muscle mass, less-than-efficient sweating mechanisms, and the higher concentration of salt in their sweat.